Erie Chamber Blog
Tuesday June 4, 2019 

Meet the newest members of the Erie Regional Chamber!

Please help us welcome the new members to the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership who joined the organization in May!

Thank you for your investment. We look forward to working with you!

Our members represent nearly 800 companies in the Erie region. Do you know of a business that could benefit from becoming a member of the Erie Regional Chamber? Refer them to Steve Walters, Member Engagement Manager, for details and information and share with them the link below.

Membership Information

Tuesday June 4, 2019 

Hosted by Homewood Suites by Hilton Erie

Join us for our June evening networking event at Homewood Suites by Hilton located at 2084 Interchange Road in Erie.

  • Tour the newly renovated Homewood Suites
  • Hors d'oeuvres and beverages provided by the hotel
  • Bring your business cards for maximum networking
  • Drawing will be held for a one night stay at the hotel


Questions about registering for BAH? Did you register but are no longer able to attend? Would your Erie Regional Chamber member business/organization be interested in hosting in a BAH 2020? Contact Event Coordinator Colleen Gross today!


Wednesday June 5, 2019 


Who Did We See on Giving You the Business in May

In partnership with Lilly Broadcasting, the Erie Regional Chamber sponsors Giving You the Business segments which air weekly on WSEE35 and WICU12 during the 5:30 PM. Monday broadcast and Tuesday mornings in the 6-7 AM. hour. Each segment takes viewers behind the scenes of a local business they may not have a chance to see.

Last months highlighted members:

Giving You the Business segments highlight members of the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership, and is a free membership benefit! Contact our office if you would like viewers to see behind the scenes at your business! Email marketing director Nadeen Schmitz, or phone 814-454-7191 x139 to schedule your segment.

Friday June 7, 2019 


Thursday June 6, 2019 

A program of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development

The Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) is a tax relief opportunity allowing businesses to directly impact their local community through investment. The program – part of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development – connects businesses and local nonprofits to take on projects focused on improving distressed areas within the community, or support neighborhood conservation efforts.

Projects typically address one of the following categories:

  • Affordable housing
  • Community services
  • Crime prevention
  • Education
  • Job training
  • Neighborhood assistance

The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development is taking applications from businesses interested in participating in the Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) tax relief program. The deadline to apply for the 2019-2020 program is June 28, 2019, at 5:00 PM. Want to learn more about NAP? Register for a 20-minute webinar for a program overview and how to connect with eligible projects or download the full program guidelines.

Tuesday June 11, 2019 

As Director of Strategic Initiatives

Kim Thomas has joined the team at the Erie Regional Chamber as our director of strategic initiatives. Kim will oversee creating a regional workforce development plan. She will work with partner organizations in identifying strategic projects and opportunities needing laser-focused action to move the community forward.

Kim has spent more than a decade serving the Erie region in various roles and capacities. Most recently, prior to joining the Chamber, Kim worked in the public sector as the northwest regional director for the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development serving 13 counties in the northwest and north central parts of the state.’ 

Kim holds a Master in Public Administration degree from Gannon University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Edinboro University, and is also a Certified Economic Development Finance Professional through the National Development Council.


Thursday June 13, 2019 

Hosted by Andrea's Interior Design Gallery 

Tuesday morning Erie Regional Chamber members gathered at Andrea's Interior Design Gallery on West 26th Street for our June morning event to make connections and build their networks over coffee and conversation.

A little about our host. Andrea Labowski, owner of Andrea's Interior Design Gallery, shared that her company helps people with mostly bath and kitchen remodeling. Andrea and her team are called in by the overwhelmed, understanding where items can be found, breaking down their project budget, and being a great resource for those projects all the way around. Andrea says she helps people love where they live. Check out her showroom for all kinds of goodies and accessories for your home!

Here's what we learned about a few of our members:

  • Breakiron Jewelers, locally owned for 56 years, on a gentleman shopping recently walking through the shop with his head down. Linda told him, it's not lingerie, it's ok to look around. snicker snicker
  • Yardmaster of Erie  has 70 employees who do more than just cut grass, they are a full-service landscaping company. 
  • The Hill District Flea events are set for the last Sundays of the month through October in the Hill District in Erie.
  • Blending Inspirations works wonders on repurposing furniture.

Thank you again Andrea for being an awesome hostess for our gathering!



Friday June 14, 2019 

Happy Father's Day

Friday June 21, 2019 


Monday June 24, 2019 

Business After Hours at Homewood Suites by Hilton

Our June Business After Hours event was hosted by our friends at the Homewood Suites by Hilton off Interchange Road.

Members and guests toured the newly renovated hotel and gathered inside and out to build their business relationships with lots of conversations going on!

Thank you for being great hosts, and congratulations on the completed renovations - they look amazing!!

View Event Photos

Mark your calendars for our July BAH and our host location Hagerty Family Events Center.

Monday June 24, 2019 

Community College – A Path to Transformation

Since coming to my new home, I have had the opportunity to meet with more than 450 business leaders to ask them what their challenges and barriers to success are today.  In nearly every case, the number one concern of our employers is workforce - the available pipeline of talent they need to continue operations in Erie.  Many of our businesses are anticipating a staggering number of retirements in the next decade, and we simply do not have the local talent to fill the void left by our aging workforce. 

While our talent base is a challenge for our existing businesses, it is also critical to our business attraction strategy.  I have worked in communities where businesses chose to relocate or expand their operations to that community because they see there is a highly trained workforce readily available to help their businesses thrive.  This is the missing link in efforts to transform our community.

Elected leaders are currently in discussions with the Northern Pennsylvania Regional College (NPRC) to create a bricks and mortar campus in Erie County.  This campus will provide Erie County students with the hands on training needed to pursue many good paying advanced manufacturing jobs right here in Erie County. I commend our leaders for their commitment to a physical location in Erie County. This local presence and accessibility is essential to growing our local economy.   

Our leaders are also working to keep any costs to local taxpayers low.  The proposed partnership will result in operational funding being provided by the Commonwealth, and not by the County. For decades, Erie County taxpayers have been paying for community colleges in other parts of Pennsylvania.  It is now Erie County’s time to benefit.   The proposed partnership will avoid more than $11 million in operating costs that would otherwise be paid by the County of Erie.

Our local workforce is not positioned to attract new businesses to this community. In our recently completed Target Industry Strategy, we found that Erie County is following a national trend of labor force participation decline.  From 2012 through 2018, the labor force participation rate in the county fell 3.3%, whereas the rate dropped by only 0.4% in Pennsylvania and 0.6% nationally.

It is imperative that we take control of this situation now. We cannot wait any longer. We must identify and implement resources and programs that will allow us to turn this trajectory of decline into a story of economic growth and vitality.  There are many opportunities to grow and develop local talent for industries including plastics manufacturing, electrical equipment manufacturing, metal fabrication and metal products, and research and development in engineering and life sciences.

A community college with a strong presence and physical location in Erie County is critical to seizing these opportunities and to transforming our community.  The Erie Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership stands with our community leaders who are prioritizing the need to bring a solution for a skills-based community college to Erie. The business sector has identified a significant shortfall in the ability to recruit and train a skilled workforce. A bricks and mortar training facility is a critical component toward filling that gap, providing opportunities to career pathways for our residents and delivering the workforce needs our businesses are so desperately seeking.

The bottom line is Erie needs a local community college. Regardless of what name is on the building or what entity owns it, the services must be delivered. The proposed agreement with the NPRC provides exactly that and gives this community a rare opportunity to grow a talented and innovative workforce.     

I urge members of this community to join me in supporting our leaders as they continue to work collaboratively toward a successful partnership with the NPRC in creating an Erie campus. Only then can we move forward with unlocking the potential of our local talent.  Failing to do so will significantly obstruct our efforts for years to come.

James Grunke is the CEO of the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership

Tuesday June 25, 2019 

Celebrating Unity of Community

Today we did a little something different! To signify the unity of the neighborhood, The Hill District celebrated with a Ribbon Knotting Ceremony!

The Historic Federal Hill Area is excited to share this moment as an expression of all that they have been working towards and hope to achieve in the 5-year revitalization plan. This ribbon knotting will also kick off the 2nd Hill District Flea of the season, which will be held on June 30th, as a part of the greater effort to create a cultural and inclusive community within the City.

Knotting a ribbon for this occasion was perfect! Congratulations to all!

View Event Photos

Thursday June 27, 2019 

Hosted by the Hagerty Family Events Center

Join us for our July evening networking event at the Hagerty Family Events Center.

  • Tour the beautiful, state-of-the-art athletic facility which includes the Joann Mullen Gymnasium, David M. Hallman III Aquatics Center, Weight Room, and Dollinger Field.
  • Enjoy delicious hors d'oeuvres and beverages provided by Food First Culinary, a subsidiary of Curtze
  • Bring your business cards for maximum networking
  • Enter a drawing for two 2019-2020 All Access Passes to the Hagerty Family Events Center


Friday June 28, 2019 

Independence Day

Friday June 28, 2019 

The Patio is Officially Opened!

Celebrating the official opening of the patio at The Cork 1794, we held a ribbon cutting of course!

The Cork 1794 opened in December 2018 in the West Erie Plaza. It is now time for everyone to enjoy the outside dining area! The Cork’s outdoor patio will provide an intimate yet comfortable atmosphere with seating upwards of 75 including the outdoor bar, dining tables, and soft seating.

What a great addition to an awesome restaurant! Congratulations, we look forward to stopping by and enjoying the new patio!


latest news

Announcing the 2023 Louis J. Tullio Award Recipient
March 16, 2023
Today the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership (ERCGP) announced its 2023 nominees -- including the award recipient for its Louis J. Tull...
Young Erie Professionals On The Move
March 16, 2023
Erie, PA - Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership (ERCGP) is pleased to announce that Young Erie Professionals recently filed to become an indep...
The Erie Community Foundation Announces New Appointment
January 12, 2023
The Erie Community Foundation and its Board of Trustees are pleased to announce the appointment of Ricardo “Ric” Giles as Director of Phil...